Running Scared (2006)

Running Scared is ridiculous, perverse, puerile, so over the top you forget where the top was, and yet it works within its own uncompromising universe. Writer/director Wayne Kramer (The Cooler) has a singular point of view so that while the out-there theatrics pile up, you feel like nothing is exactly out of bounds. The crux of the movie centers around a low-level mobster Joey (Paul Walker) trying to retrieve a gun that his kid neighbor stole and used. This gun was last used in a shootout involving dirty cops led by Chazz Palminteri. Joey needs to find it before the mob gets him, the dirty cops put the pieces together, and then Kramer even introduces more threats, like pimps, the Russian mafia, and in the movie?s most bizarre subplot, killer pederasts that look like normal people (one of the more disturbing elements is the fact they have star ratings on their home-made child porn).

The missing gun is really a McGuffin for a wild night with wild characters and extreme antics. Running Scared succeeds both as gaudy, trashy, dirty boy’s-night-out fun, as well as a wink-wink parody of the Tarantino-esque crime capers (stylized gun fights, pop culture soliloquies, quirky characters, anti-heroes, brutal violence, gratuitous nudity, weird coincidences, outlandish irony). You’ll know whether or not you’re along the film’s relentless, highly graphic wavelength early on. Running Scared opens with an incredibly bloody shootout and then quickly transitions into some surprisingly near graphic sex, as Joey wishes to service his wife (Vera Farmiga) right on top of their washer. Running Scared‘s unpredictability is its greatest asset, though a late character revelation meant to make an audience view Joey as a good guy seems forced and negates the chase for the stolen gun. I also swear … this had to be the most times I have ever heard the F-word in a film (current champ is Nil by Mouth at 470 at 3.9 a minute).

This is one movie that has to be seen to be believed. It’s so over-the-top in near everything it does, it’s nearly awe-inspiring. I knew I was in good hands when Kramer included the gratuitous sit down at a strip club … and had his strippers be bottomless as well. That’s someone who knows what movie they’re aiming for, and with Running Scared, it looks like Kramer is having his own fun playing with the bombast.

Nate’s Grade: B

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on February 21, 2006, in 2006 Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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